EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

What is ability worth?

Sir,

Regarding ‘Skills shortage worsens EU unemployment‘:

As a recent graduate from the London School of Economics and holder of a European Parliament scholarship from 2007-09, I have now been making hopeless overtures to the job market for longer than I care to count.

During my four years of graduate studies, I have consistently taken up internships in diverse roles.
Although I seemed to fit like a glove no matter what the job description, I am bound to say that the work in each case did less than justice to my potential, to say nothing of the complete lack of monetary compensation and associated hardship.

Adding insult to injury, I still come across job postings which explicity demand “similar experience in a paid role”.

My friends and I are young, confident and carry a microcosm of spaces, cultures, climates, people, cuisines and tongues within. This equips us with the personalities and attitudes and to a great extent the skills we need to cope with a range of real-life situations [of which a job should to my mind be among the least challenging].

But we no longer harbour the illusion that this enhances our employability as things stand in the world of HR.

We have the wherewithal to swim ashore if you throw us at the deep end of the pool. As for mastering the butterfly stroke, we only ask for a few days at sea.

Kalyani Unkule

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